Although the legendary Dustin Hoffman is costarring in Into The Labyrinth, a forthcoming Italian-made film, he hasn’t been in any U.S.-produced films since The Meyerowitz Stories (’17). Allegations about Hoffman having been a sexual harasser in the ’80s surfaced that same year, and then came the infamous John Oliver incident in 12.3.17. So at age 82 he may be done.
I was watching the below clip from Kramer vs. Kramer last night, and thinking about his best performances. When I say “best” I mean the most engaging and likable as opposed to the most fiercely committed or energetic.
Hoffman’s glory decade was the ’70s, of course. He actually had a pretty great run between The Graduate and Death of a Salesman in ’85 — a span of roughly 18 to 19 years.
I have to be upfront and admit that I always felt removed from his Rain Man performance, which was technically adept but struck me as too mannered and tricky. And I’ve always really disliked his Lenny Bruce in Lenny — too much practiced charm, too hungry for affection. I hated him in Hook (along with the whole film), and I never liked his slightly dazed, open-mouthed Papillon performance either.
My top 15 are as follows: (1) The Graduate, (2) Marathon Man, (3) Kramer vs. Kramer, (4) Straight Time, (5) All the President’s Men, (6) Tootsie, (7) Straw Dogs, (8) Midnight Cowboy, (9) Death of a Salesman, (10) Dick Tracy, (11) Ishtar, (12) Wag The Dog, (13) I Heart Huckabees, (14) Meet the Fockers and (15) The Meyerowitz Stories.
What am I overlooking?